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Transportation upgrades on tap for Sonoma County

The Sonoma County Transportation Authority this week approved more than ?$26 million for a range of projects, including repaving roads, bicycle and pedestrian bridges and paths, and possibly a roundabout at a congested Windsor intersection.

One of the largest expenditures - $3.1 million - will go toward a new bike and pedestrian path on Crocker Road Bridge, a nearly 80-year-old span that serves as a vital link between the rural east side of the Russian River and the city of Cloverdale and Highway 101.

Advocates have long sought a path on the truss bridge for safety concerns.

“I believe that this could save a life. It is that serious,” said Carol Russell, a Cloverdale councilwoman and vice-chairwoman of SCTA.

The transportation agency earmarked ?$1.78 million toward design of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 linking the Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood to Coddingtown Mall and a future Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit station.

Other funds will go toward a pedestrian and bike bridge at Fryer Creek in Sonoma and a 1.2-mile bike and pedestrian path running along railroad tracks over the Petaluma River and under Highway 101 between Payran Street and Southpoint Boulevard.

The transportation funding comes from federal gas tax, vehicle license fees and state sales tax, with the bulk of the money administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission through the One Bay Area Grant program.

None of the funds comes from Measure M, a local sales tax increase voters approved in 2004 for road and highway projects. Nor are they connected to state and federal funds sought by the county to help cover $16 million in storm-related damage to infrastructure this winter.

SCTA approved funding for 22 projects in Sonoma County through the One Bay Area Grant program, which is designed for local transportation improvements over the next five years.

The transportation agency previously announced it had approved funding for repaving more than 13 miles of roadway in unincorporated areas of the county. But that was an error, officials said.

The agency actually approved $5.9 million to repave more than seven miles of roadway, including 4.8 miles of River Road between Trenton-Healdsburg Road and the railroad tracks near Fulton Road; Stony Point Road between Highway 116 and Rohnert Park Expressway, and sections of Corby and Dutton avenues in Roseland.

SCTA also reported ?$3 million will go toward installation of a roundabout at Windsor River and Windsor roads. However, town officials this week said new traffic signals are still an option at that location.

Windsor’s 2017-18 budget includes $700,000 from the general fund for design review of a roundabout or signal improvements at the intersection, according to Stuart Hayre, deputy director of engineering. He said the process will take about two years.

Hayre estimated the total cost of the intersection improvements to be about $5.5 million.

Councilman Sam Salmon said the town is hoping to have work completed in time for Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit train’s arrival because the tracks pass through the intersection. The current SMART line stops near the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. Salmon, who also serves on the SCTA board, said the intersection “is in the middle of downtown, plus rail goes through the middle of it. That’s why it’s so important.”

In Petaluma, $2.9 million will go toward extending a road “diet” on Petaluma Boulevard South by about a mile, creating a continuous stretch of aboutround ?two 2 miles spanning previous improvements north of downtown Petaluma to the roundabout near the Crystal Terrace neighborhood.

Road diets reduce the total number of lanes to make room for improvements designed to smooth traffic as a whole.

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